Swimming & Diving Wrap-Up

Hailey+Takai+%2810%29+and+Reef+Robinson+%2812%29+stand+beside+the+boards+at+CORP+after+winning+OIA+Championships+and+qualifying+for+states.++Photo+courtesy+of+Takai.

Hailey Takai (10) and Reef Robinson (12) stand beside the boards at CORP after winning OIA Championships and qualifying for states. Photo courtesy of Takai.

Lin Meyers and Kylie Tanimura

COVID-19 delayed the 2021-2022 season for the Kalani High School swimming and diving team and the athletes did not know if they would get a season. However, their doubt was overturned and they had their first meet on Saturday, Jan. 8 at Kalani High School. Now, two weeks from the Hawaii State High School Athletic Championships, Kalani is poised for greatness after top results at Easterns and OIA Championships. 

Kalani diver Hailey Takai won OIAs and is 3 points off the 2014 record. Koko Watanabe (10) took first in the 100 Breastroke at OIAs and Andrew Lee (11) also took first place in the 50 Freestyle.

The season started slow, with only Kalani swimmers Watanabe and Taiga Sakai (11) qualifying for States. Watanabe qualified in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard breaststroke and Sakai qualified in the 100-yard breaststroke.  There were only six chances to qualify this season and swimmers were left anxious.

Coach Matsui’s goal for the season was to win Eastern Championships and the Kalani Swim Team delivered. The girls beat second-place Moanalua by over 40 points and the boys also beat long-time rival Kaiser by 16 points. At Eastern Championships, the Kalani Swim Team had exceptional swims. 

Eastern Results:

Girls: Kokona Watanabe (10) took first place in the 100-yard breaststroke and a close second in the 50-yard freestyle. Lin Meyers (11) won two first-place finishes in the 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle. Freshman Hanabi Oseto won first in the 100-yard butterfly at her first Eastern Championship. 

Boys: Swimmers Chiwon Kim (11) placed third in the 200 Freestyle, Taiga Sakai (11) placed third in the 200 IM and second in the 100 Breastroke, Otoyu Homma (9) placed second in the IM and 100 Backstroke, Andrew Lee (11) placed second in the 50 freestyle, and Riki Watanabe (12) placed third in the 100 butterfly.

Relays:

Girls: 

  • 200 Medley Relay Placed Third: Hanabi Oseto (9), Cienna Toyofuku (12), Kokona Watanabe(10), and Hailey Takai (10).  
  • 200 Freestyle Relay Placed First: Lin Meyers (11), Hanabi Oseto (9), Hailey Takai (10), and Kokona Watanabe (10). 
  • 400 Freestyle Relay Placed Fifth: Lin Meyers (11), Cienna Toyofuku (12), Abigayle Vendiola (11). 

Boys:

  • 200 Medley Relay Placed First: Otoyu Homma (9), Taiga Sakai (11), Riki Watanabe (12), and Andrew Lee (11). 
  • 200 Freestyle Relay Placed Second: Chiwon Kim (11), Taiga Sakai (11), Kaito Gundry (11), and Andrew Lee (11).  
  • 400 Freestyle Relay Placed Second: Kaito Gundry (11), Chiwon Kim (11), Riki Watanabe (12), and Otoyu Homma (9).

Kalani’s varsity diving team, consisting of Hailey Takai (10) and Reef Robinson (12) didn’t have any qualifying meets so they were automatically in for OIA and Eastern championships. They had no preseason so their first meet was Eastern Championships on Feb. 12 at VMAC. Takai was intended to have a competition against a diver from Kaiser but the diver, unfortunately, got hurt before the meet and was unable to compete, leaving Takai and Robinson the only competitors.

The week after Eastern Champs, the  Kalani girls came in second place and the boys took third at the OIA Championships.

OIA Results: 

Girls

  • Swimmers  Kokona Watanabe placed second in the 50 freestyle and FIRST in the 100 Breaststroke. Lin Meyers (11) placed third in the 200 freestyle.

Boys

  • Andrew Lee (11) placed FIRST in the 50 freestyle and third in the 100 Breastroke. Otoyu Homma (9) placed second in the 100 Backstroke. 

Relays: 

Girls

  • 200 Medley Relay Placed Sixth: Abigayle Vendiola (11), Latasha Hui (9), Kayla Sylva (11), and Hailey Takai (10).  
  • 200 Freestyle Relay Placed Third: Lin Meyers (11), Hanabi Oseto (9), Hailey Takai (10), and Kokona Watanabe (10). 
  • 400 Freestyle Relay Placed Third: Lin Meyers (11), Hanabi Oseto (9), Hailey Takai (10), and Kokona Watanabe (10).

Boys

  • 200 Medley Relay Placed Third: Chiwon Kim (11), Andrew Lee (11), Otoyu Homma (9), and Kaito Gundry (11). 
  • 200 Freestyle Relay Placed Second: Taiga Sakai (11), Riki Watanabe (12), Kaito Gundry (11), and Andrew Lee (11).  
  • 400 Freestyle Relay Placed Second: Otoyu Homma (9), Chiwon Kim (11), Riki Watanabe (12), and Taiga Sakai (11).

OIA Champs was the last chance for the divers to qualify for States. At this meet, six other OIA divers competed but in the end, Kalani’s two athletes took first place, both with more than a 100-point lead over second place and their previous scores at Eastern Champs. Takai finished only 8 points away from beating the record set by Nikki Imanaka from Castle High School in 2014 (Imanaka- 448.40). This meet was also significant as they both set personal bests (Takai- 445.10, Robinson- 330.90). 

Now, in two weeks, the Kalani Swim Team will be competing in the HHSAA Championship. Swimmers Lin Meyers (200 Freestyle and 500 Freestyle), Kokona Watanabe (100 Breastroke and 50 Freestyle), Otoyu Homma (200 IM and 100 Backstroke), Andrew Lee (50 Freestyle and 100 Breastroke), Taiga Sakai (100 Breastroke), and Riki Watanabe (100 Butterfly) will be competing in their qualified individual events.

For the relays:

Girls: 

  • 200 Medley Relay–Abigayle Vendiola, Hanabi Oseto, Cienna Toyofuku, and Hailey Takai.
  • 200 Freestyle Relay– Lin Meyers, Hanabi Oseto, Hailey Takai, and Kokona Watanabe.
  • 400 Freestyle Relay– Lin Meyers, Hanabi Oseto, Cienna Toyofuku, and Kokona Watanabe. 

Boys:

  • 200 Freestyle Relay– Riki Watanabe, Otoyu Homma, Taiga Sakai, and Andrew Lee. 
  • 400 Freestyle Relay– Riki Watanabe, Otoyu Homma, Taiga Sakai, and Andrew Lee.  

Hailey Takai (10) and Reef Robinson (12) are both set for States from their great results from OIA Championships.